(The Philippine Star) | Updated June 5, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is earmarking over P18 billion in capital expenditures (capex) to expand and upgrade its network in 2018 to meet the growing power needs in its franchise area.
Meralco filed with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for the approval of its P18.36 billion capex for Regulatory Year 2018, or from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.
In its filing, the power distributor listed 18 major projects with a total cost of P6.07 billion, most of which involve the expansion and development of new substations, as well as the upgrading and construction of new distribution lines.
These projects will allow the company to serve current customers and their future needs, as peak demand and customer base are forecasted to grow 3.9 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.
“This increase in peak demand and customer count will require Meralco to increase the capacity of the electric distribution system in order to accommodate customer connections while maintaining the reliability and power quality of its distribution system,” the application read.
The largest component among the major projects is the expansion of Meralco’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure at P2.43 billion. This project covers the automation of its distribution network which will result in faster response to line and network outages and thereby reduce service interruptions to customers.
To support government infrastructure projects, Meralco has allocated P385.97 million for the relocation of its electrical facilities affected by the construction of government’s public-private partnership (PPP) projects.
Meralco’s 2018 capex also includes spending for 82 residual projects amounting to P12.29 billion mostly for the improvement, rehabilitation of facilities and IT assets.
Last year, Meralco had asked for the approval of its P15.4 billion capex for 23 major projects and 83 residual projects. However, the ERC only gave provisional authority for priority projects – nine major projects and 37 residual projects – in the amount of P8.76 billion.
This is to allow Meralco to implement prioritized projects to ensure its ability to provide continuous safe and reliable service to its customers.
The power regulator has yet to decide on Meralco’s whole spending application for 2017.